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Clean Air Council v. Pruitt

ELR Citation: 47 ELR 20084
Nos. 17-1145, (D.C. Cir., 07/03/2017)

The D.C. Circuit held that EPA must continue to enforce methane emissions regulations implemented by the previous administration. In 2016, an EPA regulation required oil and gas companies to find and fix leaking methane. The measure requires companies to upgrade equipment at the sites to better capture gas surging out of oil wells, and to regularly search out and repair leaks. In June 2017, EPA suspended the rule days before the compliance date was to take effect, citing petitions that raised at least one objection to the fugitive emissions monitoring requirements that warrants reconsideration. Environmental groups sought to have the regulations put back into effect, claiming that EPA illegally, unilaterally suspended the regulations as all the issues the EPA Administrator raised were addressed during the notice-and-comment period. The court agreed as records demonstrated that industry groups had ample opportunity to comment on the issues on which EPA granted reconsideration, and that in several instances the agency incorporated those comments directly into the final rule. The court made clear that the opinion did not limit EPA's ability to reconsider the rule.